Brooklyn native Jay-Z will be bringing a new version of his Manhattan night spot, The 40/40 Club, to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in September.
The hip-hop mogul has numerous ties to the new venue, including being a minority owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, who will call Barclays Center home in the fall. Most recently, Jay-Z was named one of seven directors to run the holding company for the Center, Brooklyn Arena, LLC. And, of course, he will perform in a much-anticipated concert to open the venue on September 28.
According to a recent New York Post article, the new branch of The 40/40 Club will measure 9,000 square feet and seat 350, will open only during events and only to ticket holders for those events. The lounge’s opening is set to coincide with the grand opening of the venue and its owner’s concert on September 28. At present, there is a plan to serve liquor up to an hour past an event’s close, and no later than 2 a.m.
This counters restrictions placed on fans in the stands, with alcohol sales ending at the start of the fourth quarter for NBA games (per NBA regulations), or an hour before the close of other events.
In recent months, the Center’s future neighbors have expressed concern regarding the prospect of the arena releasing potentially drunken fans into the streets following events.
An April article in The Brooklyn Paper reported that members of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC) were requesting their local Community Boards to respond to the Center’s request for a liquor license by establishing guidelines for the number and size of drinks served to patrons. The group also wanted the establishment of a 9:30 p.m. cut-off time for serving alcohol, similar to that found in stadiums like Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
This week’s announcement regarding the opening of Jay-Z’s club was met with further ire from neighbors, according to BrooklynDaily.com. The news website reported that neighbors alleged the Center’s management was able to gain the endorsement of one such Community Board (6) without specifying the later “last-call” times to be employed at The 40/40 or other luxury lounges at the Center. Clarification that these lounges were to stay open, and serve alcohol, later into the night, was reportedly absent when Center operators originally presented their application for a liquor license.
As Gib Veconi of the PHNDC recently explained to TicketNews, the concern around this new announcement was the prospect of bottle service, common in establishments like The 40/40 Club, in combination with a late last call.
“It has an impact on closing time,” said Veconi. “There’s a big difference at last call between someone ordering a drink or a bottle of vodka. It’s a recipe for having people become very intoxicated. The bar owner loses control of how much the customer is drinking.”
“You don’t want people drinking late into the night when they are spilling out into people’s neighborhoods. With other arenas, there is a buffer of parking lot, open space and highway. The Arena here is hard up against homes.”
As reported by Gothamist.com, last week Community Board 8 did agree to put a hold on the Center’s application for a liquor license in response to these community concerns.
The fight continued Wednesday, June 20, as the Arena’s neighbors attended a State Liquor Authority hearing to once again make their case. “Our view,” said Veconi, “is we still want to see an earlier cut-off for liquor sales. It wasn’t supposed to be a bar or nightclub, it was supposed to be an arena.”
The New York Post reported Thursday, June 21, that during the State Liquor Authority hearing Barclays Center reps announced a ban on bottle service with exception to champagne and wine.